I’m a writer, and I spend most of my workday in Google Docs. There are Google Docs add-ons that I consider must-haves for working in Google Workspace tools, because they make writing considerably easier. I’m sharing the list of the six Google add-ons I use the most so you can be more productive too.

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Best Google Docs add-ons

Grammarly

Grammarly being used in a Google Doc.
Image: Jack Wallen

I’ve been using Grammarly for a few years, and it ensures I’m sending the cleanest copy to my editors. While I highly recommend every writer use Grammarly at least for first-stage edits, my suggestion comes with several caveats.First, do not count on Grammarly as the final word in editing, as that would be a big mistake. Second, Grammarly is not a good option for longer works; I’ve tried using Grammarly for entry-level edits of books, but it most always cannot handle documents of that length. Grammarly isn’t capable of sensing when a passage was written in your “writer voice” or if it’s wrong, which is one key difference between a real editor and an algorithm.

Key features

  • Catches and fixes most common mistakes
  • Integrates with most text editors in supported browsers
  • Concise suggestions to help with loose phrasing
  • Restructures lengthy passages (Premium and Business plans only)
  • Suggests engagement, fluency and delivery (Premium and Business plans only)
  • Enhances vocabulary
  • Provides weekly stats about your writing
  • Detects plagiarism

Pros

  • Real-time correction
  • High level of accuracy
  • Simple explanations for corrections
  • Customizable
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Very slow with larger documents
  • Doesn’t work well with content management systems such as WordPress
  • Changes the writer’s voice sometimes

Use cases

Grammarly is best used for companies that need accurate documentation and other materials but don’t have the budget to hire editors. Grammarly is also an outstanding solution for anyone looking to improve their writing.

Pricing

  • Free plan: Checks for grammar, spelling, punctuation, concision and tone detection.
  • Premium: Starts at $12/month. This includes everything in the Free plan plus full-sentence rewrites, word choice, tone suggestions and citations.
  • Business: Starts at $15/month per member. This includes everything in the Premium plan plus a style guide, snippets, brand tones, analytics dashboard, account roles and permissions, and SAML single sign-on.
  • Enterprise: Contact the vendor for pricing. This plan includes everything that is in the Business plan as well as unlimited team members, bulk user management, domain authorization, advanced security features and a dedicated customer success manager.

Writer’s Highlighter

Writer's Highlighter working in a Google Doc.
Image: Google Workspace

Let’s say you are collaborating on a longer document and you need to highlight particular words or phrases — perhaps for SEO or marketing purposes — to bring them to the attention of your collaborators.

With a tool like Writer’s Highlighter, you can generate a Google Sheets spreadsheet with those words and then run it against the document. Writer’s Highlighter will highlight every instance of every word found in both the document and the spreadsheet, making it easy to find them instead of doing individual searches.

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This Google Docs add-on can be employed in numerous use cases and will help you and your collaborators ensure the document includes and excludes certain words.

Key features

  • Easy to highlight specific words and collaborate
  • Filter for specific words based on a spreadsheet
  • Matching words can be formatted in bold, italic, underline or strikethrough for easier spotting.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Customizable word lists
  • Ignores case option
  • Wildcat support

Cons

  • Real-time usage can slow things down
  • Can be slow with very large documents

Use cases

Writer’s Highlighter is best used by any company, department or individual who needs to be kept apprised of certain words in documents to make the editorial process more efficient.

Pricing

  • Writer’s Highlighter is free.

Vault

Vault working in a Google Doc.
Image: Google Workspace

Vault makes it very easy to reuse snippets of text in documents. Instead of constantly retyping those snippets or copying/pasting them from another document, all you do is open the Vault sidebar and add the snippets you need without having to jump through the hoops.

Unlike other snippet managers, Vault doesn’t require you to have an account with a third-party; you install the add-on, create your snippets and add them as needed — all from within the sidebar. In addition, Vault allows you to give your snippet a name, add content, assign it a folder and even add collaborators.

Key features

  • Saves snippets that can be reused
  • Can be used across the Google Workspace applications
  • Accessible via the Android Gmail app
  • Pre-made templates

Pros

  • Supports notes, text snippets, formulas and more
  • Simple to use
  • Integrates into the Google Docs sidebar

Cons

  • Vault only supports plain-text snippets, so if you need to insert things like formatted text, HTML, fields or markdown, this isn’t the add-on for you.
  • Development may have stalled for the add-on.
  • There are not a lot of support options.

Use cases

Vault is best for anyone who frequently needs to copy boilerplate content into documents.

Pricing

  • Vault is free.

Doc Variables

Showing Doc Variables adding variables to Google Workspace.
Image: Google Workspace

Doc Variables makes it easy to add a variable to any Google document in any style. The way Doc Variables works is you enter a variable wherever you need it in your document using the syntax ${VARIABLE}, where VARIABLE is the variable to be used. Click the reload button in the Doc Variables sidebar, enter a value for the variable and the value will replace the variable in the document.

Say, for example, you want to create documents that will contain most of the same information, but certain words will need to be changed depending on the use of the document. You might have Document A that references Linux, Document B that references macOS and Document C that references Windows; within that document, wherever you need to change up the OS, you could insert the variable ${OS}.

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Once you’ve written the document and added the variable where it is needed, hit the reload button in the add-on and then type the operating system you want to use for the variable. You can add as many different variables to a single document as you like, such as one for ${DISTRIBUTION} and one for ${RELEASE}. Fill in the blanks for the variables and click the start button, and Doc Variables will automatically replace every instance it finds with the correct value.

Key features

  • Simplifies the process of using variables in Google Docs, Slides and Sheets
  • Store and manipulate values
  • Variables can be declared in the document title, body, header or footer.

Pros

  • Teams can enter values via a simple-to-use form.
  • Build sophisticated templates and integrations
  • Doc Merge function
  • Salesforce and Hubspot integrations (paid feature)

Cons

  • There’s a slight learning curve in understanding how variables are created.
  • Only works for one Google account
  • Delayed processing when using the Free account

Use cases

Doc Variables is best for any company that uses Google Docs for collaborating and wants to make the process more efficient with the help of variables.

Pricing

  • Free: One user, basic features and delayed processing.
  • Individual: $5/month for one user, advanced features and no delay in processing.
  • Team: $15/month for five, 10 or 20 users, advanced features and no delay in processing.
  • Enterprise: $105/month for unlimited users, advanced features and no delay in processing.

OneLook Thesaurus

Looking up a phrase with OneLook Thesaurus in a Google Doc.
Image: Google Workspace

When you need to up your writing game, a thesaurus can go a long way. Instead of heading over to yet another website, which will likely be crowded with ads, why not use the OneLook Thesaurus add-on, which can help you with synonyms, triggers, rhymes, complete, adjectives, nouns, quotes, lyrics and proverbs?Once it’s installed, click the OneLook Thesaurus from the Add-ons menu and select any entry, which will open the add-on. From there, type the word in question and click from the options to reveal the results.

Key features

  • Quick access to the thesaurus without having to open a new browser tab
  • Shows words commonly associated with a search
  • Shows words that start with the letters you’ve typed

Pros

  • Works as a sidebar to your document for ease of use
  • Fast and numerous results

Cons

  • When opened, it blocks some of your Google Docs toolbar.
  • Must be manually started from the Extensions menu

Use cases

OneLook Thesaurus is a helpful tool for individuals and small businesses with a limited budget and a need to improve content verbiage.

Pricing

  • OneLook Thesaurus is free.

Text Cleaner

Text Cleaner working in a Google Doc.
Image: Google Workspace

Text Cleaner gives you quick access to cleaning up issues within a document that you might otherwise have to do manually, which can be very time-consuming with longer documents. Consider Text Cleaner to be a much-improved version of Google Doc’s built-in Clear Formatting tool.

From the Add-ons | Text Cleaner menu, you can select from remove links and underlining, remove line breaks, remove paragraph breaks, fix hard line breaks in plain text, remove multiple spaces, remove tabs and smarten quotes. Simply highlight a section of text, click Add-ons | Text Cleaner and select the task you want to take care of.

You can also configure Text Cleaner to clean specific issues. Say, for instance, you always want to make sure to remove underlining, multiple spaces and tabs while preserving smart quotes. Click Add-ons | Text Cleaner | Configure. In the resulting window, check the boxes for those items and click Save. Next, highlight the copy you want to clean and click Add-ons | Text Cleaner | Clean Selected Text. Text Cleaner will automatically take care of those issues in the selected text.

Key features

  • Quickly clears unwanted formatting in a Google Doc, such as line breaks, multiple spaces and formatting from external sources.
  • Can preserve specific formatting

Pros

  • Easily removes links and underlining
  • Fixes hard line breaks
  • Removes tabs
  • Automatically changes standard quotes to smart quotes
  • Can be configured to preserve and remove specific formatting

Cons

  • Must be run from the Extensions menu
  • Cannot remove highlighting/background color from list bullets or numbered lists
  • Removing links also removes underlining, even if underlined text isn’t a link
  • Development may have stopped.

Use cases

If you frequently have to copy and paste content from outside sources that include unwanted formatting, this add-on will make the process considerably more efficient.

Pricing

  • Text Cleaner is free.

How to enable add-ons for Google Docs

The easiest method of enabling add-ons is to open the add-on page within the Google Workspace Market and click Install. Once installed, all add-ons are accessed from within the Extensions menu of a Google Doc, Sheet or Slide.